Be a Leslie Knope | Choose Joy

I mentioned earlier that I was watching the entire Parks and Recreation series on Netflix. It’s hilarious. But, more importantly (at least to a writer), the characters are full-bodied, complex, and interesting. You don’t often come across a character not in literature that’s a full person, that could be real, that you could actually have a conversation with, that has all those little quirks human beings possess. In fact, one of the reasons I went from loving to loathing Twilight was because of the movie version of Bella, who was as flat as flat can be (and because the two main characters were codependent, whiny babies—don’t hate me Bridgett).

Leslie Knope, however, is one of the former, a character that I could actually see as a friend (an exhausting friend. Though not as exhausting as Chris). Some of Leslie’s most endearing qualities are her passion for her job (she works in the parks and recreation department) and friends, her determination, and her love of Pawnee. She has an aura of positivity despite the bureaucracy and red tape that keep her hands tied and stymies so many of her plans. It’s that passion for those things and people she loves that makes her so likeable, so real.

If you can take anything from Leslie Knope, then it should be her passion and determination, both of which are necessary: Determination without a passion or direction is useless and passion without the will to see it through is fleeting.

Find that thing you’re passionate about, and embrace it. Don’t be ashamed to sing it out loud and clear. Let your enthusiasm shine, and that enthusiasm, that spark, will spread. Leslie Knope has inspired me to revisit some of my passions. Revisit some of yours. Be a Leslie Knope. Doing what you love, being ardent about it, can add a whole lot of happiness to your life.

Choose Joy.

—A

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